Top tips for car rental this summer

Car rental can be one of those additional costs that we overlook when we book our flights to the continent. We have secured our method of getting to the country we want to visit, but now we’ve to get around to all those beaches and tourist sights.

Experiencing what the continent has to offer is far easier with a hire car. Countries like France and Germany have excellent public transport, but having the freedom to visit little villages and secluded beaches in the comfort of your own time really makes a holiday extra-special.

If you plan to see what Europe has to offer this summer and want to use a car to get around, these are a few important pointers to help you on your way:

Expect Additional Expenses

Most car rental companies provide quotes but do not factor in the additional expenses that are not quoted initially. Some of these include credit card fees, registration fees, contract fees and potentially more. The best way to check the additional prices is to enquire as to the full price, everything included.

Appoint a Designated Driver

We all know what designated drivers are at home: those who tee-total so that others can enjoy some sociable drinks and still have a lift home from the pub. When renting a car on the continent, you may want to appoint a sole designated driver for your vehicle. This is because often car rental companies charge extra for adding drivers to cars. But be fair to your designated driver; get a hotel near a town centre, walk to the bar and ensure that you allow them to enjoy a few bevvies guilt-free every now and then!

Make Sure You Don’t Return Your Car Late

If you are only minutes over your allotted return time, you might be charged a handsome fee for a late arrival. Give yourself adequate time to return the car; aim to be at the car rental office at least an hour before your return time.

Consider Your Route: Try a Loop

If you want to explore a few different countries in Europe, it is best to plan a route which will loop you back to your starting point. For instance, you can be charged a huge fee if you wish to rent a car in France and drop it off in Spain. It would be better to plan a road trip that will bring you back to the country in which you rented your vehicle.

Avoid Automatics

This shouldn’t be an issue for most drivers who grew up learning to drive in the UK. However, if you’re looking to keep the costs down make sure that the transmission you order is standard, and not automatic, especially with camper vans. The price of rental can be considerably more should you get an automatic transmission.

Navigate Old-School-Style

Chances are if you have your kids in tow they will never have seen you use a map before. But you should remember how to use a map, shouldn’t you?! Some car rental companies include GPS as standard, but some don’t. Therefore, engage in some nostalgia and learn how to navigate using maps again.

Diesel versus Petrol

Diesel engines can offer better value for money. Yes, petrol cars are probably more fun to drive, but if you’re concerned about expenses and if you plan on doing some epic road trips, it is better to go with a diesel engine.

Check the Car

Put the camera on your smartphone to practical use instead of saving all your pictures for those amazing sights. Take pictures of the car before you drive away from the car rental office. Survey it for any scratches and damage. Of course this is just precautionary and the majority of car rental services are sincere. But you don’t want one scratch to add an unnecessary expense to your holiday.

Do You Really Need Insurance?

Why yes, of course you need insurance! No one wants a mishap on the road to spoil a holiday. However, do you know you might not need to purchase insurance from your car rental company? They may try to convince you that you need to purchase their insurance, but a lot of credit cards come with car rental insurance as standard. Be sure to check with your credit card company prior to your booking.

Need some extra spending money for your holiday? Find out how to get a loan on your car!